The next witness to testify was a Spanish citizen of Syrian descent, Ayman Maussili Kalaji. At the time of the bombings this witness was a serving officer in the national police, although he is now retired. He is also the owner of a company, Test Ayman S.L., which is dedicated to the liberation of mobile telephones for use with different providers. It was this company that carried out the liberation of the phones used as timers in the bombings. On the 4th March 2004, the company liberated 12 telephones for Bazar Top, and 4 more on the 8th March. Following the detention of the owners of Bazar Top, Kalaji voluntarily declared to the police, the following day he stated that he was taken to the police headquarters at Canillas in Madrid for further questioning. The employee responsible for taking the telephones from the shop to be liberated, Washington Mauricio Cuenca, could only testify that he took many telephones; without being able to specify a quantity.
Following the question of the telephones used in the bombs came that of the cards inside these phones. It is alleged by the prosecution that these cards came from the shop run by one of the accused, Jamal Zougam. Two witnesses have testified from the company, Shindu Enterprise, that sold the cards to Zougam’s business. They confirmed that they sold a batch of 100 Amena cards in February 2004 and they have identified Jamal Zougam, as well as his partners Mohamed Bekali and Mohamed Chaoui. According to the testimony, it was Bekali who took delivery of the cards.
On the sale of the telephone cards again, the witness Abdul Khaled Al Jondi told the court that it was El Tunecino who bought telephone cards from him 2 months before the attacks, saying that El Tunecino arrived in the company of another Moroccan man with a pale complexion and a black beard. The witness stated that he already knew El Tunecino before the day of the purchase. He said that El Tunecino told him he was planning to start a telephone shop, and that the person accompanying him was going to be the manager.
However the witness could not guarantee that those charged in the trial participated in the meetings held at Virgen del Coro, attendance could only be deduced from their presence in the building at the time such meetings were held. The witness confirmed that the brothers Moutaz and Mouhannad Almallah Dabas were both being investigated for their involvement in recruitment of volunteers for the Islamist cause. Both brothers aroused suspicion because they maintained a level of expenditure that did not correspond with their likely incomes. Suspicion increased when it was noted that they travelled frequently to London and made regular telephone calls to that city. The witness said that they knew Moutaz Almallah Dabas had no professional activity in London and that he was in the circle of people around the radical cleric Abu Qutada, linked to Al Qaeda.
The witness said that Mouhannad Almallah Dabas met frequently with Basel Ghalyoun and Fouad el Morabit at the property, with the frequent attendance of El Tunecino, and that the frequency of visits Almallah Dabas made was beyond that normally expected of someone acting as landlord. The police observed that the calls made by Mouhannad to London were almost always followed by calls to countries in the Middle East or North Africa. This witness also mentioned the hiring of a car to take Almallah Dabas to Ceuta, which was later found in Morrocco with six passports inside. There was also testimony on the relationship of Fadoual el Akil with the group, particularly on a meeting with El Tunecino in February 2004.
The inspector stated that his group received no orders to increase vigilance following the threats made by Osama bin Laden against Spain.
Finally on day 18 came the testimony of the commanding officer of the Geos who entered the building in Leganés, located at number 40 in the street Carmen Martín Gaite. This officer stated that the unit never intended to enter the flat where the 7 suspects were holding out. The objective was to force them out with tear gas and to arrest them. He said he was asked to come as quickly as possible to the building with his unit at approximately 18:00 on the 3rd April. He declared that the deputy director general of the police, Pedro Diaz Pintado, told him that the authors of the train bombings were inside and that they possessed explosives. He also declared that he was told there had been some shots fired from the apartment, and that it was suspected there were between 3 and 5 people inside.
According to this witness, 10 Geos arrived at the building at 19:00 p.m. Another 4 and the witness arrived 15 or 20 minutes later. Whilst they were preparing to intervene, the witness was told about an intercepted telephone conversation from someone inside the flat telling the person on the other end of the call that they were surrounded and would die that night. They tried to obtain plans of the building and discovered that the apartment next to the target one belonged to a police officer. The Geos entered his apartment, and from there they could hear shouting from the adjoining apartment. One option they considered was to destroy the wall connecting the two apartments and enter this way, but they discarded this option because of the likely presence of explosives on the other side. Instead they returned to the landing by the staircase leading up to the target apartment, the witness was present inside the building with his team. Some of the team were on the staircase below and others on the section immediately above. Next, the Geos blew open the door of the apartment and shouted to the occupants that they should give themselves up. The response was the sound of shots being fired, shouts in Arabic and some in Spanish taunting the Geos to enter the apartment. The Geos fired tear gas into the flat and at this point those inside shouted that they were going to send someone outside. The Geos replied that anyone leaving should come out naked and with his hands up. A few seconds later came the explosion, the time was 21:03 p.m. This explosion killed one of the Geos, Francisco Javier Torronteras, the 192nd victim of the train attacks.
Finally the witness was asked by one of the defence lawyers whether he considered the strategy adopted to have been the correct one. The witness replied that he felt satisfied with his decision, as the other options might have put the lives of more people at risk.
READ MORE IN SPANISH:
El Mundo - Telephone sale witnesses
El Mundo - Liberation of the telephones
El Mundo - Sale of the phone cards
El País - Morning session
El Mundo - Police surveillance
El Mundo - Bouchar escapes
El Mundo - Leganés explosion
El País - Leganés siege